Paradise lost john milton


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Paradise Lost - John Milton

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Paradise lost john milton

  1. 1. About Milton: John Milton (December 9, 1608 – November 8, 1674) was an Englishpoet, prose polemicist, and civil servant for the English Commonwealth.Most famed for his epic poem Paradise Lost, Milton is celebrated as wellfor his eloquent treatise condemning censorship, Areopagitica. Long con-sidered the supreme English poet, Milton experienced a dip in popular-ity after attacks by T.S. Eliot and F.R. Leavis in the mid 20th century; butwith multiple societies and scholarly journals devoted to his study,Milton’s reputation remains as strong as ever in the 21st century. Verysoon after his death – and continuing to the present day – Milton becamethe subject of partisan biographies, confirming T.S. Eliot’s belief that “ofno other poet is it so difficult to consider the poetry simply as poetry,without our theological and political dispositions…making unlawfulentry.” Milton’s radical, republican politics and heretical religious views,coupled with the perceived artificiality of his complicated Latinate verse,alienated Eliot and other readers; yet by dint of the overriding influenceof his poetry and personality on subsequent generations—particularlythe Romantic movement—the man whom Samuel Johnson disparaged as“an acrimonious and surly republican” must be counted one of the mostsignificant writers and thinkers of all time. Source: Wikipedia 2
  2. 2. Part 1 3
  3. 3. Of Mans first disobedience, and the fruit Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste Brought death into the World, and all our woe, With loss of Eden, till one greater Man Restore us, and regain the blissful seat, Sing, Heavenly Muse, that, on the secret top Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire That shepherd who first taught the chosen seed In the beginning how the heavens and earth Rose out of Chaos: or, if Sion hill Delight thee more, and Siloas brook that flowed Fast by the oracle of God, I thence Invoke thy aid to my adventurous song, That with no middle flight intends to soar Above th Aonian mount, while it pursues Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme. And chiefly thou, O Spirit, that dost prefer Before all temples th upright heart and pure, Instruct me, for thou knowst; thou from the first Wast present, and, with mighty wings outspread, Dove-like satst brooding on the vast Abyss, And madst it pregnant: what in me is dark Illumine, what is low raise and support; That, to the height of this great argument, I may assert Eternal Providence, And justify the ways of God to men. Say first—for Heaven hides nothing from thy view, Nor the deep tract of Hell—say first what cause Moved our grand parents, in that happy state, Favoured of Heaven so highly, to fall off From their Creator, and transgress his will For one restraint, lords of the World besides. 4
  4. 4. Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?Th infernal Serpent; he it was whose guile,Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceivedThe mother of mankind, what time his prideHad cast him out from Heaven, with all his hostOf rebel Angels, by whose aid, aspiringTo set himself in glory above his peers,He trusted to have equalled the Most High,If he opposed, and with ambitious aimAgainst the throne and monarchy of God,Raised impious war in Heaven and battle proud,With vain attempt. Him the Almighty PowerHurled headlong flaming from th ethereal sky,With hideous ruin and combustion, downTo bottomless perdition, there to dwellIn adamantine chains and penal fire,Who durst defy th Omnipotent to arms.Nine times the space that measures day and nightTo mortal men, he, with his horrid crew,Lay vanquished, rolling in the fiery gulf,Confounded, though immortal. But his doomReserved him to more wrath; for now the thoughtBoth of lost happiness and lasting painTorments him: round he throws his baleful eyes,That witnessed huge affliction and dismay,Mixed with obdurate pride and steadfast hate.At once, as far as Angels ken, he viewsThe dismal situation waste and wild.A dungeon horrible, on all sides round,As one great furnace flamed; yet from those flamesNo light; but rather darkness visibleServed only to discover sights of woe, 5
  5. 5. Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peaceAnd rest can never dwell, hope never comesThat comes to all, but torture without endStill urges, and a fiery deluge, fedWith ever-burning sulphur unconsumed.Such place Eternal Justice has preparedFor those rebellious; here their prison ordainedIn utter darkness, and their portion set,As far removed from God and light of HeavenAs from the centre thrice to th utmost pole.Oh how unlike the place from whence they fell!There the companions of his fall, oerwhelmedWith floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire,He soon discerns; and, weltering by his side,One next himself in power, and next in crime,Long after known in Palestine, and namedBeelzebub. To whom th Arch-Enemy,And thence in Heaven called Satan, with bold wordsBreaking the horrid silence, thus began:—"If thou beest he—but O how fallen! how changedFrom him who, in the happy realms of lightClothed with transcendent brightness, didst outshineMyriads, though bright!—if he whom mutual league,United thoughts and counsels, equal hopeAnd hazard in the glorious enterpriseJoined with me once, now misery hath joinedIn equal ruin; into what pit thou seestFrom what height fallen: so much the stronger provedHe with his thunder; and till then who knewThe force of those dire arms? Yet not for those,Nor what the potent Victor in his rageCan else inflict, do I repent, or change, 6
  6. 6. Though changed in outward lustre, that fixed mind,And high disdain from sense of injured merit,That with the Mightiest raised me to contend,And to the fierce contentions brought alongInnumerable force of Spirits armed,That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring,His utmost power with adverse power opposedIn dubious battle on the plains of Heaven,And shook his throne. What though the field be lost?All is not lost—the unconquerable will,And study of revenge, immortal hate,And courage never to submit or yield:And what is else not to be overcome?That glory never shall his wrath or mightExtort from me. To bow and sue for graceWith suppliant knee, and deify his powerWho, from the terror of this arm, so lateDoubted his empire—that were low indeed;That were an ignominy and shame beneathThis downfall; since, by fate, the strength of Gods,And this empyreal sybstance, cannot fail;Since, through experience of this great event,In arms not worse, in foresight much advanced,We may with more successful hope resolveTo wage by force or guile eternal war,Irreconcilable to our grand Foe,Who now triumphs, and in th excess of joySole reigning holds the tyranny of Heaven."So spake th apostate Angel, though in pain,Vaunting aloud, but racked with deep despair;And him thus answered soon his bold compeer:—"O Prince, O Chief of many throned Powers 7
  7. 7. That led th embattled Seraphim to warUnder thy conduct, and, in dreadful deedsFearless, endangered Heavens perpetual King,And put to proof his high supremacy,Whether upheld by strength, or chance, or fate,Too well I see and rue the dire eventThat, with sad overthrow and foul defeat,Hath lost us Heaven, and all this mighty hostIn horrible destruction laid thus low,As far as Gods and heavenly EssencesCan perish: for the mind and spirit remainsInvincible, and vigour soon returns,Though all our glory extinct, and happy stateHere swallowed up in endless misery.But what if he our Conqueror (whom I nowOf force believe almighty, since no lessThan such could have oerpowered such force as ours)Have left us this our spirit and strength entire,Strongly to suffer and support our pains,That we may so suffice his vengeful ire,Or do him mightier service as his thrallsBy right of war, whateer his business be,Here in the heart of Hell to work in fire,Or do his errands in the gloomy Deep?What can it the avail though yet we feelStrength undiminished, or eternal beingTo undergo eternal punishment?"Whereto with speedy words th Arch-Fiend replied:—"Fallen Cherub, to be weak is miserable,Doing or suffering: but of this be sure—To do aught good never will be our task,But ever to do ill our sole delight, 8
  8. 8. As being the contrary to his high willWhom we resist. If then his providenceOut of our evil seek to bring forth good,Our labour must be to pervert that end,And out of good still to find means of evil;Which ofttimes may succeed so as perhapsShall grieve him, if I fail not, and disturbHis inmost counsels from their destined aim.But see! the angry Victor hath recalledHis ministers of vengeance and pursuitBack to the gates of Heaven: the sulphurous hail,Shot after us in storm, oerblown hath laidThe fiery surge that from the precipiceOf Heaven received us falling; and the thunder,Winged with red lightning and impetuous rage,Perhaps hath spent his shafts, and ceases nowTo bellow through the vast and boundless Deep.Let us not slip th occasion, whether scornOr satiate fury yield it from our Foe.Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild,The seat of desolation, void of light,Save what the glimmering of these livid flamesCasts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tendFrom off the tossing of these fiery waves;There rest, if any rest can harbour there;And, re-assembling our afflicted powers,Consult how we may henceforth most offendOur enemy, our own loss how repair,How overcome this dire calamity,What reinforcement we may gain from hope,If not, what resolution from despair."Thus Satan, talking to his nearest mate, 9
  9. 9. With head uplift above the wave, and eyesThat sparkling blazed; his other parts besidesProne on the flood, extended long and large,Lay floating many a rood, in bulk as hugeAs whom the fables name of monstrous size,Titanian or Earth-born, that warred on Jove,Briareos or Typhon, whom the denBy ancient Tarsus held, or that sea-beastLeviathan, which God of all his worksCreated hugest that swim th ocean-stream.Him, haply slumbering on the Norway foam,The pilot of some small night-foundered skiff,Deeming some island, oft, as seamen tell,With fixed anchor in his scaly rind,Moors by his side under the lee, while nightInvests the sea, and wished morn delays.So stretched out huge in length the Arch-fiend lay,Chained on the burning lake; nor ever thenceHad risen, or heaved his head, but that the willAnd high permission of all-ruling HeavenLeft him at large to his own dark designs,That with reiterated crimes he mightHeap on himself damnation, while he soughtEvil to others, and enraged might seeHow all his malice served but to bring forthInfinite goodness, grace, and mercy, shewnOn Man by him seduced, but on himselfTreble confusion, wrath, and vengeance poured.Forthwith upright he rears from off the poolHis mighty stature; on each hand the flamesDriven backward slope their pointing spires, and,rolledIn billows, leave i th midst a horrid vale. 10
  10. 10. Then with expanded wings he steers his flightAloft, incumbent on the dusky air,That felt unusual weight; till on dry landHe lights—if it were land that ever burnedWith solid, as the lake with liquid fire,And such appeared in hue as when the forceOf subterranean wind transprots a hillTorn from Pelorus, or the shattered sideOf thundering Etna, whose combustibleAnd fuelled entrails, thence conceiving fire,Sublimed with mineral fury, aid the winds,And leave a singed bottom all involvedWith stench and smoke. Such resting found the soleOf unblest feet. Him followed his next mate;Both glorying to have scaped the Stygian floodAs gods, and by their own recovered strength,Not by the sufferance of supernal Power."Is this the region, this the soil, the clime,"Said then the lost Archangel, "this the seatThat we must change for Heaven?—this mournful gloomFor that celestial light? Be it so, since heWho now is sovereign can dispose and bidWhat shall be right: farthest from him is bestWhom reason hath equalled, force hath made supremeAbove his equals. Farewell, happy fields,Where joy for ever dwells! Hail, horrors! hail,Infernal world! and thou, profoundest Hell,Receive thy new possessor—one who bringsA mind not to be changed by place or time.The mind is its own place, and in itselfCan make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.What matter where, if I be still the same, 11
  11. 11. And what I should be, all but less than heWhom thunder hath made greater? Here at leastWe shall be free; th Almighty hath not builtHere for his envy, will not drive us hence:Here we may reigh secure; and, in my choice,To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell:Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.But wherefore let we then our faithful friends,Th associates and co-partners of our loss,Lie thus astonished on th oblivious pool,And call them not to share with us their partIn this unhappy mansion, or once moreWith rallied arms to try what may be yetRegained in Heaven, or what more lost in Hell?"So Satan spake; and him BeelzebubThus answered:—"Leader of those armies brightWhich, but th Omnipotent, none could have foiled!If once they hear that voice, their liveliest pledgeOf hope in fears and dangers—heard so oftIn worst extremes, and on the perilous edgeOf battle, when it raged, in all assaultsTheir surest signal—they will soon resumeNew courage and revive, though now they lieGrovelling and prostrate on yon lake of fire,As we erewhile, astounded and amazed;No wonder, fallen such a pernicious height!"He scare had ceased when the superior FiendWas moving toward the shore; his ponderous shield,Ethereal temper, massy, large, and round,Behind him cast. The broad circumferenceHung on his shoulders like the moon, whose orbThrough optic glass the Tuscan artist views 12
  12. 12. At evening, from the top of Fesole,Or in Valdarno, to descry new lands,Rivers, or mountains, in her spotty globe.His spear—to equal which the tallest pineHewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mastOf some great ammiral, were but a wand—He walked with, to support uneasy stepsOver the burning marl, not like those stepsOn Heavens azure; and the torrid climeSmote on him sore besides, vaulted with fire.Nathless he so endured, till on the beachOf that inflamed sea he stood, and calledHis legions—Angel Forms, who lay entrancedThick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooksIn Vallombrosa, where th Etrurian shadesHigh over-arched embower; or scattered sedgeAfloat, when with fierce winds Orion armedHath vexed the Red-Sea coast, whose waves oerthrewBusiris and his Memphian chivalry,While with perfidious hatred they pursuedThe sojourners of Goshen, who beheldFrom the safe shore their floating carcasesAnd broken chariot-wheels. So thick bestrown,Abject and lost, lay these, covering the flood,Under amazement of their hideous change.He called so loud that all the hollow deepOf Hell resounded:—"Princes, Potentates,Warriors, the Flower of Heaven—once yours; now lost,If such astonishment as this can seizeEternal Spirits! Or have ye chosen this placeAfter the toil of battle to reposeYour wearied virtue, for the ease you find 13
  13. 13. To slumber here, as in the vales of Heaven?Or in this abject posture have ye swornTo adore the Conqueror, who now beholdsCherub and Seraph rolling in the floodWith scattered arms and ensigns, till anonHis swift pursuers from Heaven-gates discernTh advantage, and, descending, tread us downThus drooping, or with linked thunderboltsTransfix us to the bottom of this gulf?Awake, arise, or be for ever fallen!"They heard, and were abashed, and up they sprungUpon the wing, as when men wont to watchOn duty, sleeping found by whom they dread,Rouse and bestir themselves ere well awake.Nor did they not perceive the evil plightIn which they were, or the fierce pains not feel;Yet to their Generals voice they soon obeyedInnumerable. As when the potent rodOf Amrams son, in Egypts evil day,Waved round the coast, up-called a pitchy cloudOf locusts, warping on the eastern wind,That oer the realm of impious Pharaoh hungLike Night, and darkened all the land of Nile;So numberless were those bad Angels seenHovering on wing under the cope of Hell,Twixt upper, nether, and surrounding fires;Till, as a signal given, th uplifted spearOf their great Sultan waving to directTheir course, in even balance down they lightOn the firm brimstone, and fill all the plain:A multitude like which the populous NorthPoured never from her frozen loins to pass 14
  14. 14. Rhene or the Danaw, when her barbarous sonsCame like a deluge on the South, and spreadBeneath Gibraltar to the Libyan sands.Forthwith, form every squadron and each band,The heads and leaders thither haste where stoodTheir great Commander—godlike Shapes, and FormsExcelling human; princely Dignities;And Powers that erst in Heaven sat on thrones,Though on their names in Heavenly records nowBe no memorial, blotted out and rasedBy their rebellion from the Books of Life.Nor had they yet among the sons of EveGot them new names, till, wandering oer the earth,Through Gods high sufferance for the trial of man,By falsities and lies the greatest partOf mankind they corrupted to forsakeGod their Creator, and th invisibleGlory of him that made them to transformOft to the image of a brute, adornedWith gay religions full of pomp and gold,And devils to adore for deities:Then were they known to men by various names,And various idols through the heathen world.Say, Muse, their names then known, who first, who last,Roused from the slumber on that fiery couch,At their great Emperors call, as next in worthCame singly where he stood on the bare strand,While the promiscuous crowd stood yet aloof?The chief were those who, from the pit of HellRoaming to seek their prey on Earth, durst fixTheir seats, long after, next the seat of God,Their altars by his altar, gods adored 15
  15. 15. Among the nations round, and durst abideJehovah thundering out of Sion, thronedBetween the Cherubim; yea, often placedWithin his sanctuary itself their shrines,Abominations; and with cursed thingsHis holy rites and solemn feasts profaned,And with their darkness durst affront his light.First, Moloch, horrid king, besmeared with bloodOf human sacrifice, and parents tears;Though, for the noise of drums and timbrels loud,Their childrens cries unheard that passed through fireTo his grim idol. Him the AmmoniteWorshiped in Rabba and her watery plain,In Argob and in Basan, to the streamOf utmost Arnon. Nor content with suchAudacious neighbourhood, the wisest heartOf Solomon he led by fraoud to buildHis temple right against the temple of GodOn that opprobrious hill, and made his groveThe pleasant valley of Hinnom, Tophet thenceAnd black Gehenna called, the type of Hell.Next Chemos, th obscene dread of Moabs sons,From Aroar to Nebo and the wildOf southmost Abarim; in HesebonAnd Horonaim, Seons real, beyondThe flowery dale of Sibma clad with vines,And Eleale to th Asphaltic Pool:Peor his other name, when he enticedIsrael in Sittim, on their march from Nile,To do him wanton rites, which cost them woe.Yet thence his lustful orgies he enlargedEven to that hill of scandal, by the grove 16
  16. 16. Of Moloch homicide, lust hard by hate,Till good Josiah drove them thence to Hell.With these came they who, from the bordering floodOf old Euphrates to the brook that partsEgypt from Syrian ground, had general namesOf Baalim and Ashtaroth—those male,These feminine. For Spirits, when they please,Can either sex assume, or both; so softAnd uncompounded is their essence pure,Not tried or manacled with joint or limb,Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,Like cumbrous flesh; but, in what shape they choose,Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure,Can execute their airy purposes,And works of love or enmity fulfil.For those the race of Israel oft forsookTheir Living Strength, and unfrequented leftHis righteous altar, bowing lowly downTo bestial gods; for which their heads as lowBowed down in battle, sunk before the spearOf despicable foes. With these in troopCame Astoreth, whom the Phoenicians calledAstarte, queen of heaven, with crescent horns;To whose bright image nigntly by the moonSidonian virgins paid their vows and songs;In Sion also not unsung, where stoodHer temple on th offensive mountain, builtBy that uxorious king whose heart, though large,Beguiled by fair idolatresses, fellTo idols foul. Thammuz came next behind,Whose annual wound in Lebanon alluredThe Syrian damsels to lament his fate 17
  17. 17. In amorous ditties all a summers day,While smooth Adonis from his native rockRan purple to the sea, supposed with bloodOf Thammuz yearly wounded: the love-taleInfected Sions daughters with like heat,Whose wanton passions in the sacred prochEzekiel saw, when, by the vision led,His eye surveyed the dark idolatriesOf alienated Judah. Next came oneWho mourned in earnest, when the captive arkMaimed his brute image, head and hands lopt off,In his own temple, on the grunsel-edge,Where he fell flat and shamed his worshippers:Dagon his name, sea-monster,upward manAnd downward fish; yet had his temple highReared in Azotus, dreaded through the coastOf Palestine, in Gath and Ascalon,And Accaron and Gazas frontier bounds.Him followed Rimmon, whose delightful seatWas fair Damascus, on the fertile banksOf Abbana and Pharphar, lucid streams.He also against the house of God was bold:A leper once he lost, and gained a king—Ahaz, his sottish conqueror, whom he drewGods altar to disparage and displaceFor one of Syrian mode, whereon to burnHis odious offerings, and adore the godsWhom he had vanquished. After these appearedA crew who, under names of old renown—Osiris, Isis, Orus, and their train—With monstrous shapes and sorceries abusedFanatic Egypt and her priests to seek 18
  18. 18. Their wandering gods disguised in brutish formsRather than human. Nor did Israel scapeTh infection, when their borrowed gold composedThe calf in Oreb; and the rebel kingDoubled that sin in Bethel and in Dan,Likening his Maker to the grazed ox—Jehovah, who, in one night, when he passedFrom Egypt marching, equalled with one strokeBoth her first-born and all her bleating gods.Belial came last; than whom a Spirit more lewdFell not from Heaven, or more gross to loveVice for itself. To him no temple stoodOr altar smoked; yet who more oft than heIn temples and at altars, when the priestTurns atheist, as did Elis sons, who filledWith lust and violence the house of God?In courts and palaces he also reigns,And in luxurious cities, where the noiseOf riot ascends above their loftiest towers,And injury and outrage; and, when nightDarkens the streets, then wander forth the sonsOf Belial, flown with insolence and wine.Witness the streets of Sodom, and that nightIn Gibeah, when the hospitable doorExposed a matron, to avoid worse rape.These were the prime in order and in might:The rest were long to tell; though far renownedTh Ionian gods—of Javans issue heldGods, yet confessed later than Heaven and Earth,Their boasted parents;—Titan, Heavens first-born,With his enormous brood, and birthright seizedBy younger Saturn: he from mightier Jove, 19
  19. 19. His own and Rheas son, like measure found;So Jove usurping reigned. These, first in CreteAnd Ida known, thence on the snowy topOf cold Olympus ruled the middle air,Their highest heaven; or on the Delphian cliff,Or in Dodona, and through all the boundsOf Doric land; or who with Saturn oldFled over Adria to th Hesperian fields,And oer the Celtic roamed the utmost Isles.All these and more came flocking; but with looksDowncast and damp; yet such wherein appearedObscure some glimpse of joy to have found their ChiefNot in despair, to have found themselves not lostIn loss itself; which on his countenance castLike doubtful hue. But he, his wonted prideSoon recollecting, with high words, that boreSemblance of worth, not substance, gently raisedTheir fainting courage, and dispelled their fears.Then straight commands that, at the warlike soundOf trumpets loud and clarions, be uprearedHis mighty standard. That proud honour claimedAzazel as his right, a Cherub tall:Who forthwith from the glittering staff unfurledTh imperial ensign; which, full high advanced,Shone like a meteor streaming to the wind,With gems and golden lustre rich emblazed,Seraphic arms and trophies; all the whileSonorous metal blowing martial sounds:At which the universal host up-sentA shout that tore Hells concave, and beyondFrighted the reign of Chaos and old Night.All in a moment through the gloom were seen 20
  20. 20. Ten thousand banners rise into the air,With orient colours waving: with them roseA forest huge of spears; and thronging helmsAppeared, and serried shields in thick arrayOf depth immeasurable. Anon they moveIn perfect phalanx to the Dorian moodOf flutes and soft recorders—such as raisedTo height of noblest temper heroes oldArming to battle, and instead of rageDeliberate valour breathed, firm, and unmovedWith dread of death to flight or foul retreat;Nor wanting power to mitigate and swageWith solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chaseAnguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and painFrom mortal or immortal minds. Thus they,Breathing united force with fixed thought,Moved on in silence to soft pipes that charmedTheir painful steps oer the burnt soil. And nowAdvanced in view they stand—a horrid frontOf dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guiseOf warriors old, with ordered spear and shield,Awaiting what command their mighty ChiefHad to impose. He through the armed filesDarts his experienced eye, and soon traverseThe whole battalion views—their order due,Their visages and stature as of gods;Their number last he sums. And now his heartDistends with pride, and, hardening in his strength,Glories: for never, since created Man,Met such embodied force as, named with these,Could merit more than that small infantryWarred on by cranes—though all the giant brood 21
  21. 21. Of Phlegra with th heroic race were joinedThat fought at Thebes and Ilium, on each sideMixed with auxiliar gods; and what resoundsIn fable or romance of Uthers son,Begirt with British and Armoric knights;And all who since, baptized or infidel,Jousted in Aspramont, or Montalban,Damasco, or Marocco, or Trebisond,Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shoreWhen Charlemain with all his peerage fellBy Fontarabbia. Thus far these beyondCompare of mortal prowess, yet observedTheir dread Commander. He, above the restIn shape and gesture proudly eminent,Stood like a tower. His form had yet not lostAll her original brightness, nor appearedLess than Archangel ruined, and th excessOf glory obscured: as when the sun new-risenLooks through the horizontal misty airShorn of his beams, or, from behind the moon,In dim eclipse, disastrous twilight shedsOn half the nations, and with fear of changePerplexes monarchs. Darkened so, yet shoneAbove them all th Archangel: but his faceDeep scars of thunder had intrenched, and careSat on his faded cheek, but under browsOf dauntless courage, and considerate prideWaiting revenge. Cruel his eye, but castSigns of remorse and passion, to beholdThe fellows of his crime, the followers rather(Far other once beheld in bliss), condemnedFor ever now to have their lot in pain— 22
  22. 22. Millions of Spirits for his fault amercedOf Heaven, and from eternal splendours flungFor his revolt—yet faithful how they stood,Their glory withered; as, when heavens fireHath scathed the forest oaks or mountain pines,With singed top their stately growth, though bare,Stands on the blasted heath. He now preparedTo speak; whereat their doubled ranks they bendFrom wing to wing, and half enclose him roundWith all his peers: attention held them mute.Thrice he assayed, and thrice, in spite of scorn,Tears, such as Angels weep, burst forth: at lastWords interwove with sighs found out their way:—"O myriads of immortal Spirits! O PowersMatchless, but with th Almighth!—and that strifeWas not inglorious, though th event was dire,As this place testifies, and this dire change,Hateful to utter. But what power of mind,Forseeing or presaging, from the depthOf knowledge past or present, could have fearedHow such united force of gods, how suchAs stood like these, could ever know repulse?For who can yet believe, though after loss,That all these puissant legions, whose exileHath emptied Heaven, shall fail to re-ascend,Self-raised, and repossess their native seat?For me, be witness all the host of Heaven,If counsels different, or danger shunnedBy me, have lost our hopes. But he who reignsMonarch in Heaven till then as one secureSat on his throne, upheld by old repute,Consent or custom, and his regal state 23
  23. 23. Put forth at full, but still his strength concealed—Which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fall.Henceforth his might we know, and know our own,So as not either to provoke, or dreadNew war provoked: our better part remainsTo work in close design, by fraud or guile,What force effected not; that he no lessAt length from us may find, who overcomesBy force hath overcome but half his foe.Space may produce new Worlds; whereof so rifeThere went a fame in Heaven that he ere longIntended to create, and therein plantA generation whom his choice regardShould favour equal to the Sons of Heaven.Thither, if but to pry, shall be perhapsOur first eruption—thither, or elsewhere;For this infernal pit shall never holdCelestial Spirits in bondage, nor th AbyssLong under darkness cover. But these thoughtsFull counsel must mature. Peace is despaired;For who can think submission? War, then, warOpen or understood, must be resolved."He spake; and, to confirm his words, outflewMillions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighsOf mighty Cherubim; the sudden blazeFar round illumined Hell. Highly they ragedAgainst the Highest, and fierce with grasped armsClashed on their sounding shields the din of war,Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heaven.There stood a hill not far, whose grisly topBelched fire and rolling smoke; the rest entireShone with a glossy scurf—undoubted sign 24
  24. 24. That in his womb was hid metallic ore,The work of sulphur. Thither, winged with speed,A numerous brigade hastened: as when bandsOf pioneers, with spade and pickaxe armed,Forerun the royal camp, to trench a field,Or cast a rampart. Mammon led them on—Mammon, the least erected Spirit that fellFrom Heaven; for even in Heaven his looks and thoughtsWere always downward bent, admiring moreThe riches of heavens pavement, trodden gold,Than aught divine or holy else enjoyedIn vision beatific. By him firstMen also, and by his suggestion taught,Ransacked the centre, and with impious handsRifled the bowels of their mother EarthFor treasures better hid. Soon had his crewOpened into the hill a spacious wound,And digged out ribs of gold. Let none admireThat riches grow in Hell; that soil may bestDeserve the precious bane. And here let thoseWho boast in mortal things, and wondering tellOf Babel, and the works of Memphian kings,Learn how their greatest monuments of fameAnd strength, and art, are easily outdoneBy Spirits reprobate, and in an hourWhat in an age they, with incessant toilAnd hands innumerable, scarce perform.Nigh on the plain, in many cells prepared,That underneath had veins of liquid fireSluiced from the lake, a second multitudeWith wondrous art founded the massy ore,Severing each kind, and scummed the bullion-dross. 25
  25. 25. A third as soon had formed within the groundA various mould, and from the boiling cellsBy strange conveyance filled each hollow nook;As in an organ, from one blast of wind,To many a row of pipes the sound-board breathes.Anon out of the earth a fabric hugeRose like an exhalation, with the soundOf dulcet symphonies and voices sweet—Built like a temple, where pilasters roundWere set, and Doric pillars overlaidWith golden architrave; nor did there wantCornice or frieze, with bossy sculptures graven;The roof was fretted gold. Not BabylonNor great Alcairo such magnificenceEqualled in all their glories, to enshrineBelus or Serapis their gods, or seatTheir kings, when Egypt with Assyria stroveIn wealth and luxury. Th ascending pileStood fixed her stately height, and straight the doors,Opening their brazen folds, discover, wideWithin, her ample spaces oer the smoothAnd level pavement: from the arched roof,Pendent by subtle magic, many a rowOf starry lamps and blazing cressets, fedWith naptha and asphaltus, yielded lightAs from a sky. The hasty multitudeAdmiring entered; and the work some praise,And some the architect. His hand was knownIn Heaven by many a towered structure high,Where sceptred Angels held their residence,And sat as Princes, whom the supreme KingExalted to such power, and gave to rule, 26
  26. 26. Each in his Hierarchy, the Orders bright.Nor was his name unheard or unadoredIn ancient Greece; and in Ausonian landMen called him Mulciber; and how he fellFrom Heaven they fabled, thrown by angry JoveSheer oer the crystal battlements: from mornTo noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,A summers day, and with the setting sunDropt from the zenith, like a falling star,On Lemnos, th Aegaean isle. Thus they relate,Erring; for he with this rebellious routFell long before; nor aught aviled him nowTo have built in Heaven high towers; nor did he scapeBy all his engines, but was headlong sent,With his industrious crew, to build in Hell.Meanwhile the winged Heralds, by commandOf sovereign power, with awful ceremonyAnd trumpets sound, throughout the host proclaimA solemn council forthwith to be heldAt Pandemonium, the high capitalOf Satan and his peers. Their summons calledFrom every band and squared regimentBy place or choice the worthiest: they anonWith hundreds and with thousands trooping cameAttended. All access was thronged; the gatesAnd porches wide, but chief the spacious hall(Though like a covered field, where champions boldWont ride in armed, and at the Soldans chairDefied the best of Paynim chivalryTo mortal combat, or career with lance),Thick swarmed, both on the ground and in the air,Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings. As bees 27
  27. 27. In spring-time, when the Sun with Taurus rides.Pour forth their populous youth about the hiveIn clusters; they among fresh dews and flowersFly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank,The suburb of their straw-built citadel,New rubbed with balm, expatiate, and conferTheir state-affairs: so thick the airy crowdSwarmed and were straitened; till, the signal given,Behold a wonder! They but now who seemedIn bigness to surpass Earths giant sons,Now less than smallest dwarfs, in narrow roomThrong numberless—like that pygmean raceBeyond the Indian mount; or faery elves,Whose midnight revels, by a forest-sideOr fountain, some belated peasant sees,Or dreams he sees, while overhead the MoonSits arbitress, and nearer to the EarthWheels her pale course: they, on their mirth and danceIntent, with jocund music charm his ear;At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest formsReduced their shapes immense, and were at large,Though without number still, amidst the hallOf that infernal court. But far within,And in their own dimensions like themselves,The great Seraphic Lords and CherubimIn close recess and secret conclave sat,A thousand demi-gods on golden seats,Frequent and full. After short silence then,And summons read, the great consult began. 28
  28. 28. Part 2 29
  29. 29. High on a throne of royal state, which far Outshone the wealth or Ormus and of Ind, Or where the gorgeous East with richest hand Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold, Satan exalted sat, by merit raised To that bad eminence; and, from despair Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue Vain war with Heaven; and, by success untaught, His proud imaginations thus displayed:— "Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven!— For, since no deep within her gulf can hold Immortal vigour, though oppressed and fallen, I give not Heaven for lost: from this descent Celestial Virtues rising will appear More glorious and more dread than from no fall, And trust themselves to fear no second fate!— Me though just right, and the fixed laws of Heaven, Did first create your leader—next, free choice With what besides in council or in fight Hath been achieved of merit—yet this loss, Thus far at least recovered, hath much more Established in a safe, unenvied throne, Yielded with full consent. The happier state In Heaven, which follows dignity, might draw Envy from each inferior; but who here Will envy whom the highest place exposes Foremost to stand against the Thunderers aim Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share Of endless pain? Where there is, then, no good For which to strive, no strife can grow up there From faction: for none sure will claim in Hell 30
  30. 30. Precedence; none whose portion is so smallOf present pain that with ambitious mindWill covet more! With this advantage, then,To union, and firm faith, and firm accord,More than can be in Heaven, we now returnTo claim our just inheritance of old,Surer to prosper than prosperityCould have assured us; and by what best way,Whether of open war or covert guile,We now debate. Who can advise may speak."He ceased; and next him Moloch, sceptred king,Stood up—the strongest and the fiercest SpiritThat fought in Heaven, now fiercer by despair.His trust was with th Eternal to be deemedEqual in strength, and rather than be lessCared not to be at all; with that care lostWent all his fear: of God, or Hell, or worse,He recked not, and these words thereafter spake:—"My sentence is for open war. Of wiles,More unexpert, I boast not: them let thoseContrive who need, or when they need; not now.For, while they sit contriving, shall the rest—Millions that stand in arms, and longing waitThe signal to ascend—sit lingering here,Heavens fugitives, and for their dwelling-placeAccept this dark opprobrious den of shame,The prison of his ryranny who reignsBy our delay? No! let us rather choose,Armed with Hell-flames and fury, all at onceOer Heavens high towers to force resistless way,Turning our tortures into horrid armsAgainst the Torturer; when, to meet the noise 31
  31. 31. Of his almighty engine, he shall hearInfernal thunder, and, for lightning, seeBlack fire and horror shot with equal rageAmong his Angels, and his throne itselfMixed with Tartarean sulphur and strange fire,His own invented torments. But perhapsThe way seems difficult, and steep to scaleWith upright wing against a higher foe!Let such bethink them, if the sleepy drenchOf that forgetful lake benumb not still,That in our porper motion we ascendUp to our native seat; descent and fallTo us is adverse. Who but felt of late,When the fierce foe hung on our broken rearInsulting, and pursued us through the Deep,With what compulsion and laborious flightWe sunk thus low? Th ascent is easy, then;Th event is feared! Should we again provokeOur stronger, some worse way his wrath may findTo our destruction, if there be in HellFear to be worse destroyed! What can be worseThan to dwell here, driven out from bliss, condemnedIn this abhorred deep to utter woe!Where pain of unextinguishable fireMust exercise us without hope of endThe vassals of his anger, when the scourgeInexorably, and the torturing hour,Calls us to penance? More destroyed than thus,We should be quite abolished, and expire.What fear we then? what doubt we to incenseHis utmost ire? which, to the height enraged,Will either quite consume us, and reduce 32
  32. 32. To nothing this essential—happier farThan miserable to have eternal being!—Or, if our substance be indeed divine,And cannot cease to be, we are at worstOn this side nothing; and by proof we feelOur power sufficient to disturb his Heaven,And with perpetual inroads to alarm,Though inaccessible, his fatal throne:Which, if not victory, is yet revenge."He ended frowning, and his look denouncedDesperate revenge, and battle dangerousTo less than gods. On th other side up roseBelial, in act more graceful and humane.A fairer person lost not Heaven; he seemedFor dignity composed, and high exploit.But all was false and hollow; though his tongueDropped manna, and could make the worse appearThe better reason, to perplex and dashMaturest counsels: for his thoughts were low—To vice industrious, but to nobler deedsTimorous and slothful. Yet he pleased the ear,And with persuasive accent thus began:—"I should be much for open war, O Peers,As not behind in hate, if what was urgedMain reason to persuade immediate warDid not dissuade me most, and seem to castOminous conjecture on the whole success;When he who most excels in fact of arms,In what he counsels and in what excelsMistrustful, grounds his courage on despairAnd utter dissolution, as the scopeOf all his aim, after some dire revenge. 33
  33. 33. First, what revenge? The towers of Heaven are filledWith armed watch, that render all accessImpregnable: oft on the bodering DeepEncamp their legions, or with obscure wingScout far and wide into the realm of Night,Scorning surprise. Or, could we break our wayBy force, and at our heels all Hell should riseWith blackest insurrection to confoundHeavens purest light, yet our great Enemy,All incorruptible, would on his throneSit unpolluted, and th ethereal mould,Incapable of stain, would soon expelHer mischief, and purge off the baser fire,Victorious. Thus repulsed, our final hopeIs flat despair: we must exasperateTh Almighty Victor to spend all his rage;And that must end us; that must be our cure—To be no more. Sad cure! for who would lose,Though full of pain, this intellectual being,Those thoughts that wander through eternity,To perish rather, swallowed up and lostIn the wide womb of uncreated Night,Devoid of sense and motion? And who knows,Let this be good, whether our angry FoeCan give it, or will ever? How he canIs doubtful; that he never will is sure.Will he, so wise, let loose at once his ire,Belike through impotence or unaware,To give his enemies their wish, and endThem in his anger whom his anger savesTo punish endless? Wherefore cease we, then?Say they who counsel war; we are decreed, 34
  34. 34. Reserved, and destined to eternal woe;Whatever doing, what can we suffer more,What can we suffer worse? Is this, then, worst—Thus sitting, thus consulting, thus in arms?What when we fled amain, pursued and struckWith Heavens afflicting thunder, and besoughtThe Deep to shelter us? This Hell then seemedA refuge from those wounds. Or when we layChained on the burning lake? That sure was worse.What if the breath that kindled those grim fires,Awaked, should blow them into sevenfold rage,And plunge us in the flames; or from aboveShould intermitted vengeance arm againHis red right hand to plague us? What if allHer stores were opened, and this firmamentOf Hell should spout her cataracts of fire,Impendent horrors, threatening hideous fallOne day upon our heads; while we perhaps,Designing or exhorting glorious war,Caught in a fiery tempest, shall be hurled,Each on his rock transfixed, the sport and preyOr racking whirlwinds, or for ever sunkUnder yon boiling ocean, wrapt in chains,There to converse with everlasting groans,Unrespited, unpitied, unreprieved,Ages of hopeless end? This would be worse.War, therefore, open or concealed, alikeMy voice dissuades; for what can force or guileWith him, or who deceive his mind, whose eyeViews all things at one view? He from Heavens heightAll these our motions vain sees and derides,Not more almighty to resist our might 35
  35. 35. Than wise to frustrate all our plots and wiles.Shall we, then, live thus vile—the race of HeavenThus trampled, thus expelled, to suffer hereChains and these torments? Better these than worse,By my advice; since fate inevitableSubdues us, and omnipotent decree,The Victors will. To suffer, as to do,Our strength is equal; nor the law unjustThat so ordains. This was at first resolved,If we were wise, against so great a foeContending, and so doubtful what might fall.I laugh when those who at the spear are boldAnd venturous, if that fail them, shrink, and fearWhat yet they know must follow—to endureExile, or igominy, or bonds, or pain,The sentence of their Conqueror. This is nowOur doom; which if we can sustain and bear,Our Supreme Foe in time may much remitHis anger, and perhaps, thus far removed,Not mind us not offending, satisfiedWith what is punished; whence these raging firesWill slacken, if his breath stir not their flames.Our purer essence then will overcomeTheir noxious vapour; or, inured, not feel;Or, changed at length, and to the place conformedIn temper and in nature, will receiveFamiliar the fierce heat; and, void of pain,This horror will grow mild, this darkness light;Besides what hope the never-ending flightOf future days may bring, what chance, what changeWorth waiting—since our present lot appearsFor happy though but ill, for ill not worst, 36
  36. 36. If we procure not to ourselves more woe."Thus Belial, with words clothed in reasons garb,Counselled ignoble ease and peaceful sloth,Not peace; and after him thus Mammon spake:—"Either to disenthrone the King of HeavenWe war, if war be best, or to regainOur own right lost. Him to unthrone we thenMay hope, when everlasting Fate shall yieldTo fickle Chance, and Chaos judge the strife.The former, vain to hope, argues as vainThe latter; for what place can be for usWithin Heavens bound, unless Heavens Lord supremeWe overpower? Suppose he should relentAnd publish grace to all, on promise madeOf new subjection; with what eyes could weStand in his presence humble, and receiveStrict laws imposed, to celebrate his throneWith warbled hymns, and to his Godhead singForced hallelujahs, while he lordly sitsOur envied sovereign, and his altar breathesAmbrosial odours and ambrosial flowers,Our servile offerings? This must be our taskIn Heaven, this our delight. How wearisomeEternity so spent in worship paidTo whom we hate! Let us not then pursue,By force impossible, by leave obtainedUnacceptable, though in Heaven, our stateOf splendid vassalage; but rather seekOur own good from ourselves, and from our ownLive to ourselves, though in this vast recess,Free and to none accountable, preferringHard liberty before the easy yoke 37
  37. 37. Of servile pomp. Our greatness will appearThen most conspicuous when great things of small,Useful of hurtful, prosperous of adverse,We can create, and in what place soeerThrive under evil, and work ease out of painThrough labour and endurance. This deep worldOf darkness do we dread? How oft amidstThick clouds and dark doth Heavens all-ruling SireChoose to reside, his glory unobscured,And with the majesty of darkness roundCovers his throne, from whence deep thunders roar.Mustering their rage, and Heaven resembles Hell!As he our darkness, cannot we his lightImitate when we please? This desert soilWants not her hidden lustre, gems and gold;Nor want we skill or art from whence to raiseMagnificence; and what can Heaven show more?Our torments also may, in length of time,Become our elements, these piercing firesAs soft as now severe, our temper changedInto their temper; which must needs removeThe sensible of pain. All things inviteTo peaceful counsels, and the settled stateOf order, how in safety best we mayCompose our present evils, with regardOf what we are and where, dismissing quiteAll thoughts of war. Ye have what I advise."He scarce had finished, when such murmur filledTh assembly as when hollow rocks retainThe sound of blustering winds, which all night longHad roused the sea, now with hoarse cadence lullSeafaring men oerwatched, whose bark by chance 38
  38. 38. Or pinnace, anchors in a craggy bayAfter the tempest. Such applause was heardAs Mammon ended, and his sentence pleased,Advising peace: for such another fieldThey dreaded worse than Hell; so much the fearOf thunder and the sword of MichaelWrought still within them; and no less desireTo found this nether empire, which might rise,By policy and long process of time,In emulation opposite to Heaven.Which when Beelzebub perceived—than whom,Satan except, none higher sat—with graveAspect he rose, and in his rising seemedA pillar of state. Deep on his front engravenDeliberation sat, and public care;And princely counsel in his face yet shone,Majestic, though in ruin. Sage he stoodWith Atlantean shoulders, fit to bearThe weight of mightiest monarchies; his lookDrew audience and attention still as nightOr summers noontide air, while thus he spake:—"Thrones and Imperial Powers, Offspring of Heaven,Ethereal Virtues! or these titles nowMust we renounce, and, changing style, be calledPrinces of Hell? for so the popular voteInclines—here to continue, and build up hereA growing empire; doubtless! while we dream,And know not that the King of Heaven hath doomedThis place our dungeon, not our safe retreatBeyond his potent arm, to live exemptFrom Heavens high jurisdiction, in new leagueBanded against his throne, but to remain 39
  39. 39. In strictest bondage, though thus far removed,Under th inevitable curb, reservedHis captive multitude. For he, to be sure,In height or depth, still first and last will reignSole king, and of his kingdom lose no partBy our revolt, but over Hell extendHis empire, and with iron sceptre ruleUs here, as with his golden those in Heaven.What sit we then projecting peace and war?War hath determined us and foiled with lossIrreparable; terms of peace yet noneVouchsafed or sought; for what peace will be givenTo us enslaved, but custody severe,And stripes and arbitrary punishmentInflicted? and what peace can we return,But, to our power, hostility and hate,Untamed reluctance, and revenge, though slow,Yet ever plotting how the Conqueror leastMay reap his conquest, and may least rejoiceIn doing what we most in suffering feel?Nor will occasion want, nor shall we needWith dangerous expedition to invadeHeaven, whose high walls fear no assault or siege,Or ambush from the Deep. What if we findSome easier enterprise? There is a place(If ancient and prophetic fame in HeavenErr not)—another World, the happy seatOf some new race, called Man, about this timeTo be created like to us, though lessIn power and excellence, but favoured moreOf him who rules above; so was his willPronounced among the Gods, and by an oath 40
  40. 40. That shook Heavens whole circumference confirmed.Thither let us bend all our thoughts, to learnWhat creatures there inhabit, of what mouldOr substance, how endued, and what their powerAnd where their weakness: how attempted best,By force of subtlety. Though Heaven be shut,And Heavens high Arbitrator sit secureIn his own strength, this place may lie exposed,The utmost border of his kingdom, leftTo their defence who hold it: here, perhaps,Some advantageous act may be achievedBy sudden onset—either with Hell-fireTo waste his whole creation, or possessAll as our own, and drive, as we were driven,The puny habitants; or, if not drive,Seduce them to our party, that their GodMay prove their foe, and with repenting handAbolish his own works. This would surpassCommon revenge, and interrupt his joyIn our confusion, and our joy upraiseIn his disturbance; when his darling sons,Hurled headlong to partake with us, shall curseTheir frail original, and faded bliss—Faded so soon! Advise if this be worthAttempting, or to sit in darkness hereHatching vain empires." Thus beelzebubPleaded his devilish counsel—first devisedBy Satan, and in part proposed: for whence,But from the author of all ill, could springSo deep a malice, to confound the raceOf mankind in one root, and Earth with HellTo mingle and involve, done all to spite 41
  41. 41. The great Creator? But their spite still servesHis glory to augment. The bold designPleased highly those infernal States, and joySparkled in all their eyes: with full assentThey vote: whereat his speech he thus renews:—"Well have ye judged, well ended long debate,Synod of Gods, and, like to what ye are,Great things resolved, which from the lowest deepWill once more lift us up, in spite of fate,Nearer our ancient seat—perhaps in viewOf those bright confines, whence, with neighbouring arms,And opportune excursion, we may chanceRe-enter Heaven; or else in some mild zoneDwell, not unvisited of Heavens fair light,Secure, and at the brightening orient beamPurge off this gloom: the soft delicious air,To heal the scar of these corrosive fires,Shall breathe her balm. But, first, whom shall we sendIn search of this new World? whom shall we findSufficient? who shall tempt with wandering feetThe dark, unbottomed, infinite Abyss,And through the palpable obscure find outHis uncouth way, or spread his airy flight,Upborne with indefatigable wingsOver the vast abrupt, ere he arriveThe happy Isle? What strength, what art, can thenSuffice, or what evasion bear him safe,Through the strict senteries and stations thickOf Angels watching round? Here he had needAll circumspection: and we now no lessChoice in our suffrage; for on whom we sendThe weight of all, and our last hope, relies." 42
  42. 42. This said, he sat; and expectation heldHis look suspense, awaiting who appearedTo second, or oppose, or undertakeThe perilous attempt. But all sat mute,Pondering the danger with deep thoughts; and eachIn others countenance read his own dismay,Astonished. None among the choice and primeOf those Heaven-warring champions could be foundSo hardy as to proffer or accept,Alone, the dreadful voyage; till, at last,Satan, whom now transcendent glory raisedAbove his fellows, with monarchal prideConscious of highest worth, unmoved thus spake:—"O Progeny of Heaven! Empyreal Thrones!With reason hath deep silence and demurSeized us, though undismayed. Long is the wayAnd hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.Our prison strong, this huge convex of fire,Outrageous to devour, immures us roundNinefold; and gates of burning adamant,Barred over us, prohibit all egress.These passed, if any pass, the void profoundOf unessential Night receives him next,Wide-gaping, and with utter loss of beingThreatens him, plunged in that abortive gulf.If thence he scape, into whatever world,Or unknown region, what remains him lessThan unknown dangers, and as hard escape?But I should ill become this throne, O Peers,And this imperial sovereignty, adornedWith splendour, armed with power, if aught proposedAnd judged of public moment in the shape 43
  43. 43. Of difficulty or danger, could deterMe from attempting. Wherefore do I assumeThese royalties, and not refuse to reign,Refusing to accept as great a shareOf hazard as of honour, due alikeTo him who reigns, and so much to him dueOf hazard more as he above the restHigh honoured sits? Go, therefore, mighty Powers,Terror of Heaven, though fallen; intend at home,While here shall be our home, what best may easeThe present misery, and render HellMore tolerable; if there be cure or charmTo respite, or deceive, or slack the painOf this ill mansion: intermit no watchAgainst a wakeful foe, while I abroadThrough all the coasts of dark destruction seekDeliverance for us all. This enterpriseNone shall partake with me." Thus saying, roseThe Monarch, and prevented all reply;Prudent lest, from his resolution raised,Others among the chief might offer now,Certain to be refused, what erst they feared,And, so refused, might in opinion standHis rivals, winning cheap the high reputeWhich he through hazard huge must earn. But theyDreaded not more th adventure than his voiceForbidding; and at once with him they rose.Their rising all at once was as the soundOf thunder heard remote. Towards him they bendWith awful reverence prone, and as a GodExtol him equal to the Highest in Heaven.Nor failed they to express how much they praised 44
  44. 44. That for the general safety he despisedHis own: for neither do the Spirits damnedLose all their virtue; lest bad men should boastTheir specious deeds on earth, which glory excites,Or close ambition varnished oer with zeal.Thus they their doubtful consultations darkEnded, rejoicing in their matchless Chief:As, when from mountain-tops the dusky cloudsAscending, while the north wind sleeps, oerspreadHeavens cheerful face, the louring elementScowls oer the darkened landscape snow or shower,If chance the radiant sun, with farewell sweet,Extend his evening beam, the fields revive,The birds their notes renew, and bleating herdsAttest their joy, that hill and valley rings.O shame to men! Devil with devil damnedFirm concord holds; men only disagreeOf creatures rational, though under hopeOf heavenly grace, and, God proclaiming peace,Yet live in hatred, enmity, and strifeAmong themselves, and levy cruel warsWasting the earth, each other to destroy:As if (which might induce us to accord)Man had not hellish foes enow besides,That day and night for his destruction wait!The Stygian council thus dissolved; and forthIn order came the grand infernal Peers:Midst came their mighty Paramount, and seemedAlone th antagonist of Heaven, nor lessThan Hells dread Emperor, with pomp supreme,And god-like imitated state: him roundA globe of fiery Seraphim enclosed 45
  45. 45. With bright emblazonry, and horrent arms.Then of their session ended they bid cryWith trumpets regal sound the great result:Toward the four winds four speedy CherubimPut to their mouths the sounding alchemy,By heralds voice explained; the hollow AbyssHeard far adn wide, and all the host of HellWith deafening shout returned them loud acclaim.Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat raisedBy false presumptuous hope, the ranged PowersDisband; and, wandering, each his several wayPursues, as inclination or sad choiceLeads him perplexed, where he may likeliest findTruce to his restless thoughts, and entertainThe irksome hours, till his great Chief return.Part on the plain, or in the air sublime,Upon the wing or in swift race contend,As at th Olympian games or Pythian fields;Part curb their fiery steeds, or shun the goalWith rapid wheels, or fronted brigades form:As when, to warn proud cities, war appearsWaged in the troubled sky, and armies rushTo battle in the clouds; before each vanPrick forth the airy knights, and couch their spears,Till thickest legions close; with feats of armsFrom either end of heaven the welkin burns.Others, with vast Typhoean rage, more fell,Rend up both rocks and hills, and ride the airIn whirlwind; Hell scarce holds the wild uproar:—As when Alcides, from Oechalia crownedWith conquest, felt th envenomed robe, and toreThrough pain up by the roots Thessalian pines, 46
  46. 46. And Lichas from the top of Oeta threwInto th Euboic sea. Others, more mild,Retreated in a silent valley, singWith notes angelical to many a harpTheir own heroic deeds, and hapless fallBy doom of battle, and complain that FateFree Virtue should enthrall to Force or Chance.Their song was partial; but the harmony(What could it less when Spirits immortal sing?)Suspended Hell, and took with ravishmentThe thronging audience. In discourse more sweet(For Eloquence the Soul, Song charms the Sense)Others apart sat on a hill retired,In thoughts more elevate, and reasoned highOf Providence, Foreknowledge, Will, and Fate—Fixed fate, free will, foreknowledge absolute,And found no end, in wandering mazes lost.Of good and evil much they argued then,Of happiness and final misery,Passion and apathy, and glory and shame:Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy!—Yet, with a pleasing sorcery, could charmPain for a while or anguish, and exciteFallacious hope, or arm th obdured breastWith stubborn patience as with triple steel.Another part, in squadrons and gross bands,On bold adventure to discover wideThat dismal world, if any clime perhapsMight yield them easier habitation, bendFour ways their flying march, along the banksOf four infernal rivers, that disgorgeInto the burning lake their baleful streams— 47
  47. 47. Abhorred Styx, the flood of deadly hate;Sad Acheron of sorrow, black and deep;Cocytus, named of lamentation loudHeard on the rueful stream; fierce Phlegeton,Whose waves of torrent fire inflame with rage.Far off from these, a slow and silent stream,Lethe, the river of oblivion, rollsHer watery labyrinth, whereof who drinksForthwith his former state and being forgets—Forgets both joy and grief, pleasure and pain.Beyond this flood a frozen continentLies dark and wild, beat with perpetual stormsOf whirlwind and dire hail, which on firm landThaws not, but gathers heap, and ruin seemsOf ancient pile; all else deep snow and ice,A gulf profound as that Serbonian bogBetwixt Damiata and Mount Casius old,Where armies whole have sunk: the parching airBurns frore, and cold performs th effect of fire.Thither, by harpy-footed Furies haled,At certain revolutions all the damnedAre brought; and feel by turns the bitter changeOf fierce extremes, extremes by change more fierce,From beds of raging fire to starve in iceTheir soft ethereal warmth, and there to pineImmovable, infixed, and frozen roundPeriods of time,—thence hurried back to fire.They ferry over this Lethean soundBoth to and fro, their sorrow to augment,And wish and struggle, as they pass, to reachThe tempting stream, with one small drop to loseIn sweet forgetfulness all pain and woe, 48
  48. 48. All in one moment, and so near the brink;But Fate withstands, and, to oppose th attempt,Medusa with Gorgonian terror guardsThe ford, and of itself the water fliesAll taste of living wight, as once it fledThe lip of Tantalus. Thus roving onIn confused march forlorn, th adventurous bands,With shuddering horror pale, and eyes aghast,Viewed first their lamentable lot, and foundNo rest. Through many a dark and dreary valeThey passed, and many a region dolorous,Oer many a frozen, many a fiery alp,Rocks, caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens, and shades of death—A universe of death, which God by curseCreated evil, for evil only good;Where all life dies, death lives, and Nature breeds,Perverse, all monstrous, all prodigious things,Obominable, inutterable, and worseThan fables yet have feigned or fear conceived,Gorgons, and Hydras, and Chimeras dire.Meanwhile the Adversary of God and Man,Satan, with thoughts inflamed of highest design,Puts on swift wings, and toward the gates of HellExplores his solitary flight: sometimesHe scours the right hand coast, sometimes the left;Now shaves with level wing the deep, then soarsUp to the fiery concave towering high.As when far off at sea a fleet descriedHangs in the clouds, by equinoctial windsClose sailing from Bengala, or the islesOf Ternate and Tidore, whence merchants bringTheir spicy drugs; they on the trading flood, 49
  49. 49. Through the wide Ethiopian to the Cape,Ply stemming nightly toward the pole: so seemedFar off the flying Fiend. At last appearHell-bounds, high reaching to the horrid roof,And thrice threefold the gates; three folds were brass,Three iron, three of adamantine rock,Impenetrable, impaled with circling fire,Yet unconsumed. Before the gates there satOn either side a formidable Shape.The one seemed woman to the waist, and fair,But ended foul in many a scaly fold,Voluminous and vast—a serpent armedWith mortal sting. About her middle roundA cry of Hell-hounds never-ceasing barkedWith wide Cerberean mouths full loud, and rungA hideous peal; yet, when they list, would creep,If aught disturbed their noise, into her womb,And kennel there; yet there still barked and howledWithin unseen. Far less abhorred than theseVexed Scylla, bathing in the sea that partsCalabria from the hoarse Trinacrian shore;Nor uglier follow the night-hag, when, calledIn secret, riding through the air she comes,Lured with the smell of infant blood, to danceWith Lapland witches, while the labouring moonEclipses at their charms. The other Shape—If shape it might be called that shape had noneDistinguishable in member, joint, or limb;Or substance might be called that shadow seemed,For each seemed either—black it stood as Night,Fierce as ten Furies, terrible as Hell,And shook a dreadful dart: what seemed his head 50
  50. 50. The likeness of a kingly crown had on.Satan was now at hand, and from his seatThe monster moving onward came as fastWith horrid strides; Hell trembled as he strode.Th undaunted Fiend what this might be admired—Admired, not feared (God and his Son except,Created thing naught valued he nor shunned),And with disdainful look thus first began:—"Whence and what art thou, execrable Shape,That darst, though grim and terrible, advanceThy miscreated front athwart my wayTo yonder gates? Through them I mean to pass,That be assured, without leave asked of thee.Retire; or taste thy folly, and learn by proof,Hell-born, not to contend with Spirits of Heaven."To whom the Goblin, full of wrath, replied:—"Art thou that traitor Angel? art thou he,Who first broke peace in Heaven and faith, till thenUnbroken, and in proud rebellious armsDrew after him the third part of Heavens sons,Conjured against the Highest—for which both thouAnd they, outcast from God, are here condemnedTo waste eternal days in woe and pain?And reckonst thou thyself with Spirits of HeavenHell-doomed, and breathst defiance here and scorn,Where I reign king, and, to enrage thee more,Thy king and lord? Back to thy punishment,False fugitive; and to thy speed add wings,Lest with a whip of scorpions I pursueThy lingering, or with one stroke of this dartStrange horror seize thee, and pangs unfelt before."So spake the grisly Terror, and in shape, 51
  51. 51. So speaking and so threatening, grew tenfold,More dreadful and deform. On th other side,Incensed with indignation, Satan stoodUnterrified, and like a comet burned,That fires the length of Ophiuchus hugeIn th arctic sky, and from his horrid hairShakes pestilence and war. Each at the headLevelled his deadly aim; their fatal handsNo second stroke intend; and such a frownEach cast at th other as when two black clouds,With heavens artillery fraught, came rattling onOver the Caspian,—then stand front to frontHovering a space, till winds the signal blowTo join their dark encounter in mid-air.So frowned the mighty combatants that HellGrew darker at their frown; so matched they stood;For never but once more was wither likeTo meet so great a foe. And now great deedsHad been achieved, whereof all Hell had rung,Had not the snaky Sorceress, that satFast by Hell-gate and kept the fatal key,Risen, and with hideous outcry rushed between."O father, what intends thy hand," she cried,"Against thy only son? What fury, O son,Possesses thee to bend that mortal dartAgainst thy fathers head? And knowst for whom?For him who sits above, and laughs the whileAt thee, ordained his drudge to executeWhateer his wrath, which he calls justice, bids—His wrath, which one day will destroy ye both!"She spake, and at her words the hellish PestForbore: then these to her Satan returned:— 52
  52. 52. "So strange thy outcry, and thy words so strangeThou interposest, that my sudden hand,Prevented, spares to tell thee yet by deedsWhat it intends, till first I know of theeWhat thing thou art, thus double-formed, and why,In this infernal vale first met, thou callstMe father, and that phantasm callst my son.I know thee not, nor ever saw till nowSight more detestable than him and thee."T whom thus the Portress of Hell-gate replied:—"Hast thou forgot me, then; and do I seemNow in thine eye so foul?—once deemed so fairIn Heaven, when at th assembly, and in sightOf all the Seraphim with thee combinedIn bold conspiracy against Heavens King,All on a sudden miserable painSurprised thee, dim thine eyes and dizzy swumIn darkness, while thy head flames thick and fastThrew forth, till on the left side opening wide,Likest to thee in shape and countenance bright,Then shining heavenly fair, a goddess armed,Out of thy head I sprung. Amazement seizedAll th host of Heaven; back they recoiled afraidAt first, and called me Sin, and for a signPortentous held me; but, familiar grown,I pleased, and with attractive graces wonThe most averse—thee chiefly, who, full oftThyself in me thy perfect image viewing,Becamst enamoured; and such joy thou tookstWith me in secret that my womb conceivedA growing burden. Meanwhile war arose,And fields were fought in Heaven: wherein remained 53
  53. 53. (For what could else?) to our Almighty FoeClear victory; to our part loss and routThrough all the Empyrean. Down they fell,Driven headlong from the pitch of Heaven, downInto this Deep; and in the general fallI also: at which time this powerful keyInto my hands was given, with charge to keepThese gates for ever shut, which none can passWithout my opening. Pensive here I satAlone; but long I sat not, till my womb,Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown,Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes.At last this odious offspring whom thou seest,Thine own begotten, breaking violent way,Tore through my entrails, that, with fear and painDistorted, all my nether shape thus grewTransformed: but he my inbred enemyForth issued, brandishing his fatal dart,Made to destroy. I fled, and cried out Death!Hell trembled at the hideous name, and sighedFrom all her caves, and back resounded Death!I fled; but he pursued (though more, it seems,Inflamed with lust than rage), and, swifter far,Me overtook, his mother, all dismayed,And, in embraces forcible and foulEngendering with me, of that rape begotThese yelling monsters, that with ceaseless crySurround me, as thou sawst—hourly conceivedAnd hourly born, with sorrow infiniteTo me; for, when they list, into the wombThat bred them they return, and howl, and gnawMy bowels, their repast; then, bursting forth 54
  54. 54. Afresh, with conscious terrors vex me round,That rest or intermission none I find.Before mine eyes in opposition sitsGrim Death, my son and foe, who set them on,And me, his parent, would full soon devourFor want of other prey, but that he knowsHis end with mine involved, and knows that IShould prove a bitter morsel, and his bane,Whenever that shall be: so Fate pronounced.But thou, O father, I forewarn thee, shunHis deadly arrow; neither vainly hopeTo be invulnerable in those bright arms,Through tempered heavenly; for that mortal dint,Save he who reigns above, none can resist."She finished; and the subtle Fiend his loreSoon learned, now milder, and thus answered smooth:—"Dear daughter—since thou claimst me for thy sire,And my fair son here showst me, the dear pledgeOf dalliance had with thee in Heaven, and joysThen sweet, now sad to mention, through dire changeBefallen us unforeseen, unthought-of—know,I come no enemy, but to set freeFrom out this dark and dismal house of painBoth him and thee, and all the heavenly hostOf Spirits that, in our just pretences armed,Fell with us from on high. From them I goThis uncouth errand sole, and one for allMyself expose, with lonely steps to treadTh unfounded Deep, and through the void immenseTo search, with wandering quest, a place foretoldShould be—and, by concurring signs, ere nowCreated vast and round—a place of bliss 55
  55. 55. In the purlieus of Heaven; and therein placedA race of upstart creatures, to supplyPerhaps our vacant room, though more removed,Lest Heaven, surcharged with potent multitude,Might hap to move new broils. Be this, or aughtThan this more secret, now designed, I hasteTo know; and, this once known, shall soon return,And bring ye to the place where thou and DeathShall dwell at ease, and up and down unseenWing silently the buxom air, embalmedWith odours. There ye shall be fed and filledImmeasurably; all things shall be your prey."He ceased; for both seemed highly pleased, and DeathGrinned horrible a ghastly smile, to hearHis famine should be filled, and blessed his mawDestined to that good hour. No less rejoicedHis mother bad, and thus bespake her sire:—"The key of this infernal Pit, by dueAnd by command of Heavens all-powerful King,I keep, by him forbidden to unlockThese adamantine gates; against all forceDeath ready stands to interpose his dart,Fearless to be oermatched by living might.But what owe I to his commands above,Who hates me, and hath hither thrust me downInto this gloom of Tartarus profound,To sit in hateful office here confined,Inhabitant of Heaven and heavenly born—Here in perpetual agony and pain,With terrors and with clamours compassed roundOf mine own brood, that on my bowels feed?Thou art my father, thou my author, thou 56
  56. 56. My being gavst me; whom should I obeyBut thee? whom follow? Thou wilt bring me soonTo that new world of light and bliss, amongThe gods who live at ease, where I shall reignAt thy right hand voluptuous, as beseemsThy daughter and thy darling, without end."Thus saying, from her side the fatal key,Sad instrument of all our woe, she took;And, towards the gate rolling her bestial train,Forthwith the huge portcullis high up-drew,Which, but herself, not all the Stygian PowersCould once have moved; then in the key-hole turnsTh intricate wards, and every bolt and barOf massy iron or solid rock with easeUnfastens. On a sudden open fly,With impetuous recoil and jarring sound,Th infernal doors, and on their hinges grateHarsh thunder, that the lowest bottom shookOf Erebus. She opened; but to shutExcelled her power: the gates wide open stood,That with extended wings a bannered host,Under spread ensigns marching, mibht pass throughWith horse and chariots ranked in loose array;So wide they stood, and like a furnace-mouthCast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame.Before their eyes in sudden view appearThe secrets of the hoary Deep—a darkIllimitable ocean, without bound,Without dimension; where length, breadth, and height,And time, and place, are lost; where eldest NightAnd Chaos, ancestors of Nature, holdEternal anarchy, amidst the noise 57
  57. 57. Of endless wars, and by confusion stand.For Hot, Cold, Moist, and Dry, four champions fierce,Strive here for mastery, and to battle bringTheir embryon atoms: they around the flagOf each his faction, in their several clans,Light-armed or heavy, sharp, smooth, swift, or slow,Swarm populous, unnumbered as the sandsOf Barca or Cyrenes torrid soil,Levied to side with warring winds, and poiseTheir lighter wings. To whom these most adhereHe rules a moment: Chaos umpire sits,And by decision more embroils the frayBy which he reigns: next him, high arbiter,Chance governs all. Into this wild Abyss,The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave,Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire,But all these in their pregnant causes mixedConfusedly, and which thus must ever fight,Unless th Almighty Maker them ordainHis dark materials to create more worlds—Into this wild Abyss the wary FiendStood on the brink of Hell and looked a while,Pondering his voyage; for no narrow frithHe had to cross. Nor was his ear less pealedWith noises loud and ruinous (to compareGreat things with small) than when Bellona stormsWith all her battering engines, bent to raseSome capital city; or less than if this frameOf Heaven were falling, and these elementsIn mutiny had from her axle tornThe steadfast Earth. At last his sail-broad vansHe spread for flight, and, in the surging smoke 58
  58. 58. Uplifted, spurns the ground; thence many a league,As in a cloudy chair, ascending ridesAudacious; but, that seat soon failing, meetsA vast vacuity. All unawares,Fluttering his pennons vain, plumb-down he dropsTen thousand fathom deep, and to this hourDown had been falling, had not, by ill chance,The strong rebuff of some tumultuous cloud,Instinct with fire and nitre, hurried himAs many miles aloft. That fury stayed—Quenched in a boggy Syrtis, neither sea,Nor good dry land—nigh foundered, on he fares,Treading the crude consistence, half on foot,Half flying; behoves him now both oar and sail.As when a gryphon through the wildernessWith winged course, oer hill or moory dale,Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealthHad from his wakeful custody purloinedThe guarded gold; so eagerly the FiendOer bog or steep, through strait, rough, dense, or rare,With head, hands, wings, or feet, pursues his way,And swims, or sinks, or wades, or creeps, or flies.At length a universal hubbub wildOf stunning sounds, and voices all confused,Borne through the hollow dark, assaults his earWith loudest vehemence. Thither he pliesUndaunted, to meet there whatever PowerOr Spirit of the nethermost AbyssMight in that noise reside, of whom to askWhich way the nearest coast of darkness liesBordering on light; when straight behold the throneOf Chaos, and his dark pavilion spread 59
  59. 59. Wide on the wasteful Deep! With him enthronedSat sable-vested Night, eldest of things,The consort of his reign; and by them stoodOrcus and Ades, and the dreaded nameOf Demogorgon; Rumour next, and Chance,And Tumult, and Confusion, all embroiled,And Discord with a thousand various mouths.T whom Satan, turning boldly, thus:—"Ye PowersAnd Spirtis of this nethermost Abyss,Chaos and ancient Night, I come no spyWith purpose to explore or to disturbThe secrets of your realm; but, by constraintWandering this darksome desert, as my wayLies through your spacious empire up to light,Alone and without guide, half lost, I seek,What readiest path leads where your gloomy boundsConfine with Heaven; or, if some other place,From your dominion won, th Ethereal KingPossesses lately, thither to arriveI travel this profound. Direct my course:Directed, no mean recompense it bringsTo your behoof, if I that region lost,All usurpation thence expelled, reduceTo her original darkness and your sway(Which is my present journey), and once moreErect the standard there of ancient Night.Yours be th advantage all, mine the revenge!"Thus Satan; and him thus the Anarch old,With faltering speech and visage incomposed,Answered: "I know thee, stranger, who thou art— ***That mighty leading Angel, who of lateMade head against Heavens King, though overthrown. 60
  60. 60. I saw and heard; for such a numerous hostFled not in silence through the frighted Deep,With ruin upon ruin, rout on rout,Confusion worse confounded; and Heaven-gatesPoured out by millions her victorious bands,Pursuing. I upon my frontiers hereKeep residence; if all I can will serveThat little which is left so to defend,Encroached on still through our intestine broilsWeakening the sceptre of old Night: first, Hell,Your dungeon, stretching far and wide beneath;Now lately Heaven and Earth, another worldHung oer my realm, linked in a golden chainTo that side Heaven from whence your legions fell!If that way be your walk, you have not far;So much the nearer danger. Go, and speed;Havoc, and spoil, and ruin, are my gain."He ceased; and Satan stayed not to reply,But, glad that now his sea should find a shore,With fresh alacrity and force renewedSprings upward, like a pyramid of fire,Into the wild expanse, and through the shockOf fighting elements, on all sides roundEnvironed, wins his way; harder besetAnd more endangered than when Argo passedThrough Bosporus betwixt the justling rocks,Or when Ulysses on the larboard shunnedCharybdis, and by th other whirlpool steered.So he with difficulty and labour hardMoved on, with difficulty and labour he;But, he once passed, soon after, when Man fell,Strange alteration! Sin and Death amain, 61
  61. 61. Following his track (such was the will of Heaven)Paved after him a broad and beaten wayOver the dark Abyss, whose boiling gulfTamely endured a bridge of wondrous length,From Hell continued, reaching th utmost orbOf this frail World; by which the Spirits perverseWith easy intercourse pass to and froTo tempt or punish mortals, except whomGod and good Angels guard by special grace.But now at last the sacred influenceOf light appears, and from the walls of HeavenShoots far into the bosom of dim NightA glimmering dawn. Here Nature first beginsHer farthest verge, and Chaos to retire,As from her outmost works, a broken foe,With tumult less and with less hostile din;That Satan with less toil, and now with ease,Wafts on the calmer wave by dubious light,And, like a weather-beaten vessel, holdsGladly the port, though shrouds and tackle torn;Or in the emptier waste, resembling air,Weighs his spread wings, at leisure to beholdFar off th empyreal Heaven, extended wideIn circuit, undetermined square or round,With opal towers and battlements adornedOf living sapphire, once his native seat;And, fast by, hanging in a golden chain,This pendent World, in bigness as a starOf smallest magnitude close by the moon.Thither, full fraught with mischievous revenge,Accursed, and in a cursed hour, he hies. 62
  62. 62. Part 3 63
  63. 63. Hail, holy Light, offspring of Heaven firstborn, Or of the Eternal coeternal beam May I express thee unblamd? since God is light, And never but in unapproached light Dwelt from eternity, dwelt then in thee Bright effluence of bright essence increate. Or hear"st thou rather pure ethereal stream, Whose fountain who shall tell? before the sun, Before the Heavens thou wert, and at the voice Of God, as with a mantle, didst invest *** The rising world of waters dark and deep, Won from the void and formless infinite. Thee I re-visit now with bolder wing, Escapd the Stygian pool, though long detaind In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight Through utter and through middle darkness borne, With other notes than to the Orphean lyre I sung of Chaos and eternal Night; Taught by the heavenly Muse to venture down The dark descent, and up to re-ascend, Though hard and rare: Thee I revisit safe, And feel thy sovran vital lamp; but thou Revisitst not these eyes, that roll in vain To find thy piercing ray, and find no dawn; So thick a drop serene hath quenchd their orbs, Or dim suffusion veild. Yet not the more Cease I to wander, where the Muses haunt, Clear spring, or shady grove, or sunny hill, Smit with the love of sacred song; but chief Thee, Sion, and the flowery brooks beneath, That wash thy hallowd feet, and warbling flow, Nightly I visit: nor sometimes forget 64
  64. 64. So were I equalld with them in renown,Thy sovran command, that Man should find grace;Blind Thamyris, and blind Maeonides,And Tiresias, and Phineus, prophets old:Then feed on thoughts, that voluntary moveHarmonious numbers; as the wakeful birdSings darkling, and in shadiest covert hidTunes her nocturnal note. Thus with the yearSeasons return; but not to me returnsDay, or the sweet approach of even or morn,Or sight of vernal bloom, or summers rose,Or flocks, or herds, or human face divine;But cloud instead, and ever-during darkSurrounds me, from the cheerful ways of menCut off, and for the book of knowledge fairPresented with a universal blankOf natures works to me expungd and rasd,And wisdom at one entrance quite shut out.So much the rather thou, celestial Light,Shine inward, and the mind through all her powersIrradiate; there plant eyes, all mist from thencePurge and disperse, that I may see and tellOf things invisible to mortal sight.Now had the Almighty Father from above,From the pure empyrean where he sitsHigh thrond above all highth, bent down his eyeHis own works and their works at once to view:About him all the Sanctities of HeavenStood thick as stars, and from his sight receivdBeatitude past utterance; on his rightThe radiant image of his glory sat,His only son; on earth he first beheld 65
  65. 65. Our two first parents, yet the only twoOf mankind in the happy garden placdReaping immortal fruits of joy and love,Uninterrupted joy, unrivalld love,In blissful solitude; he then surveydHell and the gulf between, and Satan thereCoasting the wall of Heaven on this side NightIn the dun air sublime, and ready nowTo stoop with wearied wings, and willing feet,On the bare outside of this world, that seemdFirm land imbosomd, without firmament,Uncertain which, in ocean or in air.Him God beholding from his prospect high,Wherein past, present, future, he beholds,Thus to his only Son foreseeing spake.Only begotten Son, seest thou what rageTransports our Adversary? whom no boundsPrescribd no bars of Hell, nor all the chainsHeapd on him there, nor yet the main abyssWide interrupt, can hold; so bent he seemsOn desperate revenge, that shall redoundUpon his own rebellious head. And now,Through all restraint broke loose, he wings his wayNot far off Heaven, in the precincts of light,Directly towards the new created world,And man there placd, with purpose to assayIf him by force he can destroy, or, worse,By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert;For man will hearken to his glozing lies,And easily transgress the sole command,Sole pledge of his obedience: So will fallHe and his faithless progeny: Whose fault? 66
  66. 66. Whose but his own? ingrate, he had of meAll he could have; I made him just and right,Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.Such I created all the ethereal PowersAnd Spirits, both them who stood, and them who faild;Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell.Not free, what proof could they have given sincereOf true allegiance, constant faith or love,Where only what they needs must do appeard,Not what they would? what praise could they receive?What pleasure I from such obedience paid,When will and reason (reason also is choice)Useless and vain, of freedom both despoild,Made passive both, had servd necessity,Not me? they therefore, as to right belong$ d,So were created, nor can justly accuseTheir Maker, or their making, or their fate,As if predestination over-ruldTheir will disposd by absolute decreeOr high foreknowledge they themselves decreedTheir own revolt, not I; if I foreknew,Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault,Which had no less proved certain unforeknown.So without least impulse or shadow of fate,Or aught by me immutably foreseen,They trespass, authors to themselves in allBoth what they judge, and what they choose; for soI formd them free: and free they must remain,Till they enthrall themselves; I else must changeTheir nature, and revoke the high decreeUnchangeable, eternal, which ordaind$THeir freedom: they themselves ordaind their fall. 67
  67. 67. The first sort by their own suggestion fell,Self-tempted, self-depravd: Man falls, deceivdBy the other first: Man therefore shall find grace,The other none: In mercy and justice both,Through Heaven and Earth, so shall my glory excel;But Mercy, first and last, shall brightest shine.Thus while God spake, ambrosial fragrance filldAll Heaven, and in the blessed Spirits electSense of new joy ineffable diffusd.Beyond compare the Son of God was seenMost glorious; in him all his Father shoneSubstantially expressd; and in his faceDivine compassion visibly appeard,Love without end, and without measure grace,Which uttering, thus he to his Father spake.O Father, gracious was that word which closdThy sovran command, that Man should find grace;, that Man should find grace;For which both Heaven and earth shall high extolThy praises, with the innumerable soundOf hymns and sacred songs, wherewith thy throneEncompassd shall resound thee ever blest.For should Man finally be lost, should Man,Thy creature late so lovd, thy youngest son,Fall circumvented thus by fraud, though joindWith his own folly? that be from thee far,That far be from thee, Father, who art judgeOf all things made, and judgest only right.Or shall the Adversary thus obtainHis end, and frustrate thine? shall he fulfillHis malice, and thy goodness bring to nought,Or proud return, though to his heavier doom, 68
  68. 68. Yet with revenge accomplishd, and to HellDraw after him the whole race of mankind,By him corrupted? or wilt thou thyselfAbolish thy creation, and unmakeFor him, what for thy glory thou hast made?So should thy goodness and thy greatness bothBe questiond and blasphemd without defence.To whom the great Creator thus replied.O son, in whom my soul hath chief delight,Son of my bosom, Son who art alone.My word, my wisdom, and effectual might,All hast thou spoken as my thoughts are, allAs my eternal purpose hath decreed;Man shall not quite be lost, but savd who will;Yet not of will in him, but grace in meFreely vouchsafd; once more I will renewHis lapsed powers, though forfeit; and enthralldBy sin to foul exorbitant desires;Upheld by me, yet once more he shall standOn even ground against his mortal foe;By me upheld, that he may know how frailHis fallen condition is, and to me oweAll his deliverance, and to none but me.Some I have chosen of peculiar grace,Elect above the rest; so is my will:The rest shall hear me call, and oft be warndTheir sinful state, and to appease betimesThe incensed Deity, while offerd graceInvites; for I will clear their senses dark,What may suffice, and soften stony heartsTo pray, repent, and bring obedience due.To prayer, repentance, and obedience due, 69
  69. 69. Though but endeavourd with sincere intent,Mine ear shall not be slow, mine eye not shut.And I will place within them as a guide,My umpire Conscience; whom if they will hear,Light after light, well usd, they shall attain,And to the end, persisting, safe arrive.This my long sufferance, and my day of grace,They who neglect and scorn, shall never taste;But hard be hardend, blind be blinded more,That they may stumble on, and deeper fall;And none but such from mercy I exclude.But yet all is not done; Man disobeying,Disloyal, breaks his fealty, and sinsAgainst the high supremacy of Heaven,Affecting God-head, and, so losing all,To expiate his treason hath nought left,But to destruction sacred and devote,He, with his whole posterity, must die,Die he or justice must; unless for himSome other able, and as willing, payThe rigid satisfaction, death for death.Say, heavenly Powers, where shall we find such love?Which of you will be mortal, to redeemMans mortal crime, and just the unjust to save?Dwells in all Heaven charity so dear?And silence was in Heaven: $ on Mans behalfHe askd, but all the heavenly quire stood mute,Patron or intercessour none appeard,Much less that durst upon his own head drawThe deadly forfeiture, and ransom set.And now without redemption all mankindMust have been lost, adjudgd to Death and Hell 70
  70. 70. By doom severe, had not the Son of God,In whom the fulness dwells of love divine,His dearest mediation thus renewd.Father, thy word is past, Man shall find grace;And shall grace not find means, that finds her way,The speediest of thy winged messengers,To visit all thy creatures, and to allComes unprevented, unimplord, unsought?Happy for Man, so coming; he her aidCan never seek, once dead in sins, and lost;Atonement for himself, or offering meet,Indebted and undone, hath none to bring;Behold me then: me for him, life for lifeI offer: on me let thine anger fall;Account me Man; I for his sake will leaveThy bosom, and this glory next to theeFreely put off, and for him lastly dieWell pleased; on me let Death wreak all his rage.Under his gloomy power I shall not longLie vanquished. Thou hast given me to possessLife in myself for ever; by thee I live;Though now to Death I yield, and am his due,All that of me can die, yet, that debt paid,$ thou wilt not leave me in the loathsome graveHis prey, nor suffer my unspotted soulFor ever with corruption there to dwell;But I shall rise victorious, and subdueMy vanquisher, spoiled of his vaunted spoil.Death his deaths wound shall then receive, and stoopInglorious, of his mortal sting disarmed;I through the ample air in triumph highShall lead Hell captive maugre Hell, and show 71